For the second time in just three years, Driton Haxhiaj of Lithuania snagged the first-place spot in the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT) Luton Main Event – beating a combined 501 players. He went up against 239 other people this year and walked away with £61,520 – roughly $75,100.
Going into the final day, Haxhiaj was somewhere in the middle of the standings, not demonstrating a particular likeliness to surge ahead. Brett Kennedy led the way and, two hours after the table began, eight had been eliminated to set the final table of nine.
Janice Phillips was the first to go after a series of unfortunate events sent her home. A matchup with Paul Byrne caused her A, J to fall, and she was closely followed by Jeff Kimber, who moved all-in with pocket fives against Ben Vinson. Not only did Vinson (A, J) call, but Paul Vas Nunes also got in on the actio, putting himself all-in with an A, Q. The board (10♢, K♡, 9♧, Q♤, K♧) gave Vinson a straight, eliminating Kimber and Vas Nunes in one fell swoop.
Derek Boyle went away in sixth when his A, K cracked under Byrne’s A, 10. Jose Gamito scored the fifth-place spot (and the first five-figure cash out) when he went all-in on an A, K that, again, fell to Byrne.
Throughout the run, start-of-day chip leader Kennedy had slowly seen his chips slide away and he wasn’t able to hang on any longer when he came face-to-face with Haxhiaj. Vinson fell in third-place to Byrne and the two most dangerous players (Byrne and Haxhiaj) then went head-to-head.
The final two made a deal, agreeing to £52,000 each with the winner taking home an additional £9,520 and the trophy. It wasn’t long after that Haxhiaj scored the bonuses on an ace-high flop.
Next, Haxhiaj will be at the GUKPT Blackpool Main Event on Nov. 6.
Final table results:
Featured photo credit: PokerNewsReport.
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